Women stage protest against Arunachal Scouts’ ‘rogue behaviour’

Guv, Army, CM and DGP meet

[ Nellie N Manpoong ]

ITANAGAR, Nov 6: Women’s organisations of West Kameng district staged a protest at Buddha Park in Bomdila on Tuesday, condemning the “unruly rogue behaviour” of the 2nd Arunachal Scouts (AS) personnel with Deputy Commissioner Sonal Swaroop and policewomen on 2 and 3 November.
Seeking immediate action against the AS personnel, the organisations in a representation to the DC said the behaviour of the AS personnel was evidence of their “utter disregard for the policewomen on duty.”
“This also indicates their utter disregard for law and order and maintaining peace, which is required of personnel belonging to a disciplined armed force,” they said.
The women expressed resentment that two AS personnel not only manhandled the Bomdila police station officer-in-charge but also manhandled and snatched the ‘lathi’ of a policewoman when she tried to intervene.
Condemning the rowdy behaviour and the language used by the AS personnel against the DC, a protestor questioned how ordinary women could feel safe when army men did not respect even the district head and the three policewomen on duty.
“We are surrounded by army men in the district. What if we had to go out at night and bumped into such army men? We are not safe at all, which is why we have to raise our voices today,” she said.
Several West Kameng-based organisations also wrote a joint memorandum to the prime minister’s office (PMO) on 3 November and sought immediate withdrawal of the 2nd Arunachal Scouts from the district.
The organisations include the Sajolang Elite Society, the Dirang Employees’ Welfare Society, the Aka Elite Society, the Sartang Elite Society, the Thukpen Village Council, the All Bugun (Khowa) Society, the Sherthukpen Employees’ Welfare Association, and the All West Kameng Students’ Union (AWKSU).
In the five-point memorandum to the PMO, the organisations demanded free, fair and speedy investigation against the officials and men of the AS stationed in Bomdila, besides immediate disciplinary proceeding and exemplary punishment as per the rules.
They also sought immediate restoration of the public and private properties damaged by the AS, and said the AS has to apologize to the district administration and the police personnel.
Earlier, on 5 November, these organisations, and several others, had taken out a rally on the streets of Bomdila to express their resentment at the action of the AS personnel.
Speaking to this daily, AWKSU secretary general Tarun Dazangju said several regiments of the army have come and gone, but it was the AS that was creating problems for the people of Bomdila, which he said is not even a border town.
“They are for border areas, but Bomdila isn’t a border town. We are not terrorists, nor do we encourage Naxalite activities,” he said, and questioned the need to station the AS in Bomdila.
He also questioned how the AS officials provided gate passes to their sepoys to party at night.
Dazangju, who claimed to be at the police station on the day the police station and the PWD office were vandalized, also attested to the SP’s comment that the two personnel involved in the incident of 2 November were among the vandalizing AS personnel.
He said there was an immediate need to install CCTV cameras in the police station. Had there been CCTV cameras there on that day, they would have captured the entire event and left no room for doubt as to who was at fault, Dazangju said.
This daily made several attempts to contact the army but could not get through on the phone.
Meanwhile, Governor BD Mishra met Chief Minister Pema Khandu, the army’s Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief Secretary Satya Gopal, 3 Corps General Officer Commanding, Lt General Gopal R, and Director General of Police SBK Singh at Raj Bhavan here on Tuesday and emphasized on better cooperation and teamwork among the security forces “to instill a sense of security among the people, especially the population in the border areas.”
Mishra called for taking extra steps in enhancing the good relationship between the security forces and the civil population. He also spoke of the pressing need of the civil police’s cooperation with the security forces, and called for army and police personnel to work in tandem and cohesion.
“There should be no occasion for any friction between the police and the army as both work for the security of the people,” he said.
As reported earlier, on 2 November, two intoxicated 2nd AS personnel reportedly misbehaved with some women at the Buddha Mahotsava celebration ground in Bomdila, and were reportedly beaten up by police after they were taken to the police station for inquiry.
The next day, the CO of the 2nd AS came with some 200 heavily-armed men and vandalized the police station and the PWD office there.
They also manhandled police personnel, along with the SP, the DC and a civilian nearby. (With inputs from Raj Bhawan)


IC&ASA seeks action against Arunachal Scouts

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Nov 6: The secretary of the Indian Civil and Administrative Service (Central) Association (IC&ASA), Rakesh Srivastava has written a letter to Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, seeking action against the military personnel involved in physically assaulting West Kameng Deputy Commissioner Sonal Swarup and Superintendent of Police Raja Bhantia.
“I am writing this letter in the capacity of President, IC&AS, and strongly condemn the action of the 2nd Arunachal Scouts battalion, led by Col FB Firdauz and Adjutant Maj Kaushik Roy, who vandalized government properties and physically assaulted the district magistrate-cum-deputy commissioner, the superintendent of police, and other officials of the police station on 3 November at Bomdila in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh,” the letter read.
It said the armed forces have been known for professionalism, bravery, valour and respect for women and human rights, and that coordination between the armed forces and the district administration has always been cordial as they work in tandem in the interest of the nation, be it in disaster management, internal security, or maintenance of law and order.
However, it said, “The incident, as reported, which took place in Bomdila, is a cause of grave concern. A woman IAS officer posted as district magistrate-cum-deputy commissioner was verbally abused and was stone-pelted when she ordered the armed 2nd Arunachal Scouts to disperse.
“The use of force in an area that has not been declared as disturbed area can only take place on the requisition of the district magistrate, under the direct supervision of an executive magistrate at the spot, as per established law and procedure,” the letter said.
“In the above mentioned incident, none of the procedures and laws were followed by the officers and jawans of the 2nd Arunachal Scouts,” it said. “If such an incident is allowed to go unpunished and not deterred through prompt, strong and firm action, it would not only embolden such perpetrators but also shake the basic foundation of institutions built over years.”
Extending support to the DC, the association urged the defence secretary to ensure that the alleged perpetrators are brought to speedy justice, “so that such incidents remain as an aberration in the otherwise illustrious legacy of the armed forces. ”
Of the DC, it said: “She has displayed exemplary courage in handling the delicate situation despite being physically hit and verbally abused.”